Buccaneers Preview: Quarterbacks

Jon Gruden and Jeff Garcia (AP Photo)

BucsBlitz.com's countdown to training camp concludes today with a preview of the Buccaneers' quarterbacks. Each day BucsBlitz.com will break down a different position leading up to reporting day in Orlando on July 26.

Recently, Scout.com's senior NFL reporter Adam Caplan responded to several questions about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ranging from offseason moves to a season prediction. What did Caplan think of Tampa Bay's reluctance to give QB Jeff Garcia a contract extension, among other things? Find out in this exclusive Q&A, with additional commentary from Saintsinsider.com's Matthew Postins. Get the scoop right here.


QUARTERBACKS : Starter -- Jeff Garcia. Backups -- Brian Griese, Luke McCown, Josh Johnson, Chris Simms.

Garcia enters training camp as the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback. But he's not altogether happy. His desire for a contract extension has not been fulfilled so far and he's signed only through 2008. Is that any way to treat a guy that stabilized a position that had been in flux for years and had a 94.6 passer rating? Probably not, but at age 38 Garcia's desire for a new contract may not come to pass. Still, the pro will be at training camp and, barring injury or trade, will be the starter.

The Bucs are much better fortified behind him than they were a year ago. Griese, who was the Bucs' starter in 2004-05, is back after a trade and is a lock for No. 2. Griese understands Gruden's system and still owns the team's single-season completion record. While accurate, he is prone to forcing passes in coverage and throwing ill-timed interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns in 2004. Gruden trusts him and he's signed through 2010. He'll be the starter next year if Garcia isn't re-signed.

McCown made strides last year in place of an injured Garcia, and his athleticism and big arm are intriguing to Gruden. But McCown must make better decisions with the football and learn to feel backside pressure to become more effective. He is in the final year of his contract, so he's playing for a new deal either in Tampa Bay or elsewhere.

Johnson is considered the quarterback of the future and will get plenty of one-on-one time with quarterbacks coach Greg Olsen, Gruden and player personnel executive — and former Bucs quarterback — Doug Williams. Don't expect Johnson to play. The Bucs would love to put him on the practice squad, but it would expose Johnson to a potential claim by another team. He'll make the roster because the Bucs see him as their quarterback in 2010.

Simms, if he indeed makes it to camp, will be there for one reason —he has to be. He's made it no secret that he wants out, but the Bucs want him to prove that he's healthy so he can be traded. Expect the Bucs to showcase him in preseason games if he's healthy. Expect the Bucs to release him if he's not.


Which five positions battles are going to keep Buccaneers coaches and fans interested the next six weeks? There are key battles that could determine the Bucs' success this season. What are they? Get expert analysis and predictions from Bucsblitz.com. Just click here to find out who made the list.


Which five Bucs have the most to gain — and the most to lose — at training camp? Bucsblitz.com has the scoop for you in this exclusive analysis Just click here to find out who made the list.


They were the nine biggest stories of the offseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. How did the Bucs do in the magnifying glass of hindsight? Did they do the right things to attack their team needs and keep the team on the winning track? Matthew Postins of bucsblitz.com examines those storylines and their impact on the upcoming season in his exclusive group of articles:

Vol. 1 — the coaching staff.

Vol. 2 — the secondary's future.

Vol. 3 — is Jovan Haye a future star?

Vol. 4 — the precarious state at running back.

Vol. 5 — who will eventually replace Joey Galloway?

Vol. 6 — Jon Gruden's contract extension.

Vol. 7 — What should the Bucs do at center?

Vol. 8 — re-signing a key tight end.

Vol. 9 — assessing the return game.

We're gearing up for training camp at Bucsblitz.com. Today we've posted our first Mailbag feature, with answers to questions on Greg White, Jeff Garcia and a potential breakout player. Just click here to check it out. Part 2 will include an answer on Brett Favre and be published later this week.


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla.

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